Help them become redundant
It felt like a breakthrough. The other day, a business owner, talking about an upcoming meeting she realized she didn’t need to attend, said, “I’ll be redundant. I am so excited!”
This is something I think only business owners can appreciate. First, let me explain what redundant means in this context. It means that the owner is no longer required to manage many aspects of the day-to-day activities of the business.
Of course, there are different degrees of redundancy for a business owner. In the beginning, a milestone can be as simple as hiring a bookkeeper. Then, perhaps, hiring someone to run sales or marketing for the first time. Finally, the holy grail for many owners: the realization that they can be elsewhere during the business day, or even take a vacation, and the business will carry on without them. For almost any business owner, reaching each level of redundancy is incredibly refreshing and rewarding.
One reason many people start their own business is because they want to be more in control of their time. Along with what they work on, they want to control how and when they work. Some may prefer to spend their time in the areas of their business that they choose. Others may prefer to take time away from the business. In either case, it is about doing less of the stuff they don’t want to do—selling, managing the books, or whatever—and more of what they enjoy.
Not all owners want to be redundant. Some truly love being in the weeds and controlling every aspect of an operation. However, businesses led by these owners, who either can’t or don’t want to let go of the minutiae, tend to grow more slowly.
In addition to more freedom for the owner, there are benefits to the business as well. Often, as business owners get out of the weeds, the company grows faster. Also, other people, who may be more skilled than the owner in certain key areas, come to own various parts of the growth engine.
How brands can capitalize
If your product or service can be a factor in helping your SMB owners offload some aspect of their business, make sure you tell them how and why. To the extent that it’s appropriate:
- Emphasize in your marketing copy and content how your product or service takes a load off the owner’s shoulders.
- Use your content to highlight best practices and stories about how business owners can better delegate and empower others, or build automated processes.
I remember realizing, about 6 years after starting The New York Enterprise Report, that our monthly magazine was being published with little of my involvement. I felt like a new man. More importantly, I was able to work on new initiatives and have my weekends back. As an owner becomes redundant, there is a shift from the owner working for the business to the business working for the owner. At the end of the day, that’s what most business owners want.